Grid-Parametrize-Split (GriPS) for Improved Scalable Inference in Spatial Big Data Analysis

01/10/2021
by   Michele Peruzzi, et al.
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Rapid advancements in spatial technologies including Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing have generated massive amounts of spatially referenced data in a variety of scientific and data-driven industrial applications. These advancements have led to a substantial, and still expanding, literature on the modeling and analysis of spatially oriented big data. In particular, Bayesian inferences for high-dimensional spatial processes are being sought in a variety of remote-sensing applications including, but not limited to, modeling next generation Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems and other remotely sensed data. Massively scalable spatial processes, in particular Gaussian processes (GPs), are being explored extensively for the increasingly encountered big data settings. Recent developments include GPs constructed from sparse Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) with a limited number of neighbors (parents) to characterize dependence across the spatial domain. The DAG can be used to devise fast algorithms for posterior sampling of the latent process, but these may exhibit pathological behavior in estimating covariance parameters. While these issues are mitigated by considering marginalized samplers that exploit the underlying sparse precision matrix, these algorithms are slower, less flexible, and oblivious of structure in the data. The current article introduces the Grid-Parametrize-Split (GriPS) approach for conducting Bayesian inference in spatially oriented big data settings by a combination of careful model construction and algorithm design to effectuate substantial improvements in MCMC convergence. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed methods through simulation experiments and subsequently undertake the modeling of LiDAR outcomes and production of their predictive maps using G-LiHT and other remotely sensed variables.

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